Author Topic: Home-schooling  (Read 8869 times)

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SiotehCat

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Re: Home-schooling
« Reply #90 on: February 20, 2013, 03:24:06 PM »
My dad always helped me with my homework, but I think we would have had big problems if he had tried to home-school me.

I was convinced that I was so much smarter than my parents. I was sure that they were trying to kill my soul. So, my father would help me with my homework and I would immediately tune him out. Then he would whack me on the forehead with a pencil to bring me back. There is nothing that he could do to me that would hurt me. Time out? Okay. Ground me? Alright.

Teachers calling me out in class would completely embarrass me. Of course I needed to do well in school. I didn't want all of my friends thinking that I was stupid and laughing at me.

Many years later, I was taking a math class at the local community college and asked DH to help me. It was like I was right back at the kitchen table with my father, except DH couldn't whack me with the pencil.

daen

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Re: Home-schooling
« Reply #91 on: February 20, 2013, 04:57:53 PM »
I have neither home-schooled nor been home-schooled, but I have had some exposure to the homeschooling circles in my area. (I worked for a homeschool curricula & resources distributor, several families in my church homeschool, my sister has homeschooled, and I work in a library where I've assisted a variety of homeschool groups.) Reading this thread has generated a number of unconnected responses.

1. I've seen a lot of homeschooling parents who put in serious effort. They research curricula to find the best fit, or they build individualized curricula based on pre-existing guidelines. They place multiple inter-library loans to get age-appropriate enrichment materials. They hold their children to high standards, and put a lot of time into prep, teaching, and testing, as well as various enrichment activities. On the other I have also seen one homeschooling parent who did not know the difference between an encyclopedia and a dictionary, and was not interested in finding out.

2. My exposure has mostly been to those who homeschool for religious reasons, and the more conservative among them seem to gravitate to curricula with a limited worldview and in some cases limited critical thinking skills. There are a number of private schools in my area that mostly consist of kids sitting at desks using this conservative curriculum, with an adult (usually 18-25) who may or may not have completed high school acting  as teacher. This worries me.

3. There are a lot of excellent resources and curricula out there, though, and I wish that they had been available for my husband, who was exactly the wrong kind of temperament and skill sets for standard classroom education. I can't name names at this point, as it's been a few years since I worked at the distributors, but there were some great series on fostering critical thinking, grammar, foreign languages (including Latin, which intrigues me), and the like, in addition to the core maths, sciences, and English.

4. The library where I work hires high school students as assistants, and we do like hiring homeschoolers - the ones we've hired have been disciplined, well-read, polite, and their flexible schedules are a bonus.

5. Children will value what they see their parents value. One of the basic ideas of encouraging child literacy is to let your children see you reading - for yourself, not just to them. That conveys that reading is also an adult pursuit; it's not just picture books that you grow out of. In the same way, parents that value education by checking on what the kids are learning, keeping them accountable to finish their work, helping (or arranging help) where needed, will show the kids that this is important. While that might not pay off right away, long-term at least some of that attitude will stick.

heronlady

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Re: Home-schooling
« Reply #92 on: February 20, 2013, 08:42:49 PM »
Quote
I am in my 2nd year of university now, and am pretty much one of the only ones in my year that is writing and reasoning at an above average level.

Actually, you aren't.

About half of your class is writing at an above average level and about half of your class is reasoning at an above average level. That's a requirement for defining "average".

(Unless, of course, your year consists of 2-5 students in total.)


I was using average as an adjective, which generally means normal, regular, typical, neither very good nor very bad, etc. So, in this case, most students are average. There are a few that perform at a higher level than that, and a few that perform at a lower level than that. Average refers to the range of typical ability among the students in my year, at my university.

Outside of mathematics, I have always used average to mean typical and regular, and that's how I've seen it used in most other places as well.

JoW

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Re: Home-schooling
« Reply #93 on: February 20, 2013, 09:16:38 PM »
Some people can.not.teach.  My mother is one of those people.  I have 2 brothers.  All 3 of us have a college degree.  If we had been taught at home by mom we would know less than the average public-school 6th grader. 

Home schooling was unheard of when I was a kid.  I got lucky. 


Deetee

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Re: Home-schooling
« Reply #94 on: February 20, 2013, 09:20:31 PM »
Quote
I am in my 2nd year of university now, and am pretty much one of the only ones in my year that is writing and reasoning at an above average level.

Actually, you aren't.

About half of your class is writing at an above average level and about half of your class is reasoning at an above average level. That's a requirement for defining "average".

(Unless, of course, your year consists of 2-5 students in total.)


I was using average as an adjective, which generally means normal, regular, typical, neither very good nor very bad, etc. So, in this case, most students are average. There are a few that perform at a higher level than that, and a few that perform at a lower level than that. Average refers to the range of typical ability among the students in my year, at my university.

Outside of mathematics, I have always used average to mean typical and regular, and that's how I've seen it used in most other places as well.


For your statement to be correct in reasoning (which is why this sentence jumped out at me; it was discussing reasoning) the vast majority of the students would need to be average in order for you to be "pretty much one of the only ones" above average. Eg: 100 students with 90 average students, 5 above average and 5 below average would make someone "pretty much one of the only ones".

From my time both as a student and teaching at universities, I have yet to see a class grade distribution like that. Even with a rather broad "average", you'd end up with a third average, a third above and a third below (as a simplification and ignoring some weighting issues with students getting zero etc..)




Rohanna

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Re: Home-schooling
« Reply #95 on: February 20, 2013, 11:18:22 PM »
Some people can.not.teach.  My mother is one of those people.  I have 2 brothers.  All 3 of us have a college degree.  If we had been taught at home by mom we would know less than the average public-school 6th grader. 

Home schooling was unheard of when I was a kid.  I got lucky.

Never mind- there's also the issue of severely dyslexic, aspergers, low-IQ, illiterate, poor language skills due to immigration or other cultural issues, hearing or sight-impaired parents- to name a few issues. What happens if Mum has to work and Dad has an acquired brain injury? What about my husband- who's Dad is a first-generation immigrant with a Grade 2 education from another country and a severe learning disability and a speech impediment- he's functionally illiterate. I also see parents through my job who have barely-functional level IQs, but with monitoring and social assistance are able to parent.

This doesn't even touch the social issues like single parents, extreme low-income families where both parents (and often the older children) must work (not- "oh I stay home, it just means couponing and cutting out starbucks" budgeting- I mean "if we all don't go apple picking and scrounging cans, we don't eat" poor), neglectful families, special-needs children, and so on. My father would NOT be where he is today if he had not won a scholarship as a "charity" child to a good boarding school- his parents were barely literate, neglectful lower-working class folk. They would never have been able to teach him to level that he was able to attain via good teachers and access to resources.

There's a very "sheltered" attitude that comes from some home-schooling parents. An assumption that every parent has the knowledge of how to teach, what to teach, and why to teach it. The lack of understanding of how difficult it can be for some people to access resources, or afford them even if they could. Add to this the sheer *fear* some people have of things beyond their experience.

My FIL is scared of museums and anything of that ilk- he doesn't understand them, doesn't see the point of them, and is honestly afraid that he'll be mocked for going to one-- that things like that aren't for people like him. If it wasn't for the fact that he could sign his son up for school, and that school "took care of that kind of thing" my husband would have grown up with no exposure to art, or music beyond the country radio station, or reading beyond what could be sounded out of the newspaper headlines. Was his school experience perfect? No.... and certainly a well educated, dedicated parent could *probably* have done better. On the other hand, maybe not- because my husband was a pig-headed, stubborn child that would cut his own nose off rather than listen to his parents. 

So, if you have the time, the money, the resources, the energy- the ability- homeschool if you like. If you put the effort into doing it right, your kids will probably have just as much chance of turning out well as they would from the average school. Just don't assume that because you can do it, it's the right choice for everyone. Children in other countries risk life and limb for the chance to attend and learn at the institutions we have the priviledge of scorning here.
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. ~ Jack Layton.

heronlady

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Re: Home-schooling
« Reply #96 on: February 20, 2013, 11:48:52 PM »
Quote
I am in my 2nd year of university now, and am pretty much one of the only ones in my year that is writing and reasoning at an above average level.

Actually, you aren't.

About half of your class is writing at an above average level and about half of your class is reasoning at an above average level. That's a requirement for defining "average".

(Unless, of course, your year consists of 2-5 students in total.)


I was using average as an adjective, which generally means normal, regular, typical, neither very good nor very bad, etc. So, in this case, most students are average. There are a few that perform at a higher level than that, and a few that perform at a lower level than that. Average refers to the range of typical ability among the students in my year, at my university.

Outside of mathematics, I have always used average to mean typical and regular, and that's how I've seen it used in most other places as well.


For your statement to be correct in reasoning (which is why this sentence jumped out at me; it was discussing reasoning) the vast majority of the students would need to be average in order for you to be "pretty much one of the only ones" above average. Eg: 100 students with 90 average students, 5 above average and 5 below average would make someone "pretty much one of the only ones".

From my time both as a student and teaching at universities, I have yet to see a class grade distribution like that. Even with a rather broad "average", you'd end up with a third average, a third above and a third below (as a simplification and ignoring some weighting issues with students getting zero etc..)

Perhaps we are speaking from different frameworks and that there might be a misunderstanding because I have not been very specific.

I think I understand what you are saying, though - if I score in the 95th percentile regularly in standardized tests, I am not "one of the only ones" who is above average because 50th percentile is average, and therefore everyone above that is above average, and everyone below that is below average. Am I correct?

My university operates on a pass/fail, ability-based learning system so I do not know much about weighting or averaging grades.

What I meant to say was that of the sophomore students, the vast majority write and reason at a sophomore level. A few perform at a lower level, and a few perform at a higher level. I am one of the students that perform at a higher level. I used average to mean the people who perform at grade level, and above average to refer to the few who perform at a higher level.

I have seen average used in that sense much more often than I have seen it used in the math/statistics sense, but I do not have much of a background in the latter so perhaps that's why I am misunderstanding.

Thank you for catching that, though. I will be more careful in how I use the word average from now on.

(In case tone is not clear here, I am sincere, not being snarky.)

kareng57

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Re: Home-schooling
« Reply #97 on: February 20, 2013, 11:58:41 PM »
Some people can.not.teach.  My mother is one of those people.  I have 2 brothers.  All 3 of us have a college degree.  If we had been taught at home by mom we would know less than the average public-school 6th grader. 

Home schooling was unheard of when I was a kid.  I got lucky.


It was pretty much unheard-of when I was a kid, too.  However, I became acquainted with a woman who was diagnosed with severe heart disease as an infant.  Initially, her parents were told that she would likely not live for more than a few months.  Then, when she was about 3, they did some corrective surgery but again - her parents were told that she'd live maybe a couple of more years, no more.

She was stubborn and kept living. :)  So when she got to be about 5 years old, the doctors acknowledged that maybe she'd live for a few more years, but it would be too risky to send her to school - too much risk of infection.  This was about 1960.  The only option was to use correspondence-school - at that time, it was generally for kids who were in extremely remote areas.  Well - her mom did an awesome job (I knew her mom too).  She'd had no previous teaching experience herself, but in fact J's younger brother (he was a couple of years younger) ended up skipping a grade because he'd absorbed so much of J's lessons from her mother.  And of course this far from the era when home-schooling-lessons could be easily downloaded from the Net - J's mother had to rely on the mail.

And when J was about 11 or 12 - the doctors kind of figured that there was nothing to lose at that stage, so they gave the okay for her to enter regular school.  She did great and achieved a degree in Library Science eventually.  Did she have a long life? - no, she died at about age 48.  But she'd had a lot longer life than the previous prediction.

Overall - would every parent would have been able to do what J's mom did?  I don't think so, I probably could not have.  I would have probably have had to hire a tutor.  But sometimes if there's a clear necessity it can work out.

mmswm

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Re: Home-schooling
« Reply #98 on: February 21, 2013, 02:01:23 AM »
Some people can.not.teach.  My mother is one of those people.  I have 2 brothers.  All 3 of us have a college degree.  If we had been taught at home by mom we would know less than the average public-school 6th grader. 

Home schooling was unheard of when I was a kid.  I got lucky.

Never mind- there's also the issue of severely dyslexic, aspergers, low-IQ, illiterate, poor language skills due to immigration or other cultural issues, hearing or sight-impaired parents- to name a few issues. What happens if Mum has to work and Dad has an acquired brain injury? What about my husband- who's Dad is a first-generation immigrant with a Grade 2 education from another country and a severe learning disability and a speech impediment- he's functionally illiterate. I also see parents through my job who have barely-functional level IQs, but with monitoring and social assistance are able to parent.

This doesn't even touch the social issues like single parents, extreme low-income families where both parents (and often the older children) must work (not- "oh I stay home, it just means couponing and cutting out starbucks" budgeting- I mean "if we all don't go apple picking and scrounging cans, we don't eat" poor), neglectful families, special-needs children, and so on. My father would NOT be where he is today if he had not won a scholarship as a "charity" child to a good boarding school- his parents were barely literate, neglectful lower-working class folk. They would never have been able to teach him to level that he was able to attain via good teachers and access to resources.

There's a very "sheltered" attitude that comes from some home-schooling parents. An assumption that every parent has the knowledge of how to teach, what to teach, and why to teach it. The lack of understanding of how difficult it can be for some people to access resources, or afford them even if they could. Add to this the sheer *fear* some people have of things beyond their experience.

My FIL is scared of museums and anything of that ilk- he doesn't understand them, doesn't see the point of them, and is honestly afraid that he'll be mocked for going to one-- that things like that aren't for people like him. If it wasn't for the fact that he could sign his son up for school, and that school "took care of that kind of thing" my husband would have grown up with no exposure to art, or music beyond the country radio station, or reading beyond what could be sounded out of the newspaper headlines. Was his school experience perfect? No.... and certainly a well educated, dedicated parent could *probably* have done better. On the other hand, maybe not- because my husband was a pig-headed, stubborn child that would cut his own nose off rather than listen to his parents. 

So, if you have the time, the money, the resources, the energy- the ability- homeschool if you like. If you put the effort into doing it right, your kids will probably have just as much chance of turning out well as they would from the average school. Just don't assume that because you can do it, it's the right choice for everyone. Children in other countries risk life and limb for the chance to attend and learn at the institutions we have the priviledge of scorning here.

Wow.  There's an awful lot of interesting assumptions here.

I'm a dyslexic, dirt poor single mother unable to hold down a regular job due to the medical needs of my children. I have an income of $360/mo and I'd be homeless if I didn't move in with my parents. 

I also have a BS in Mathematics with minors in Biology, Chemistry and English Literature, an MS in Math with a statistics concentration and a year of Ph.D coursework in Biostatistics.  I also hold valid teaching licences in three states and have ten years of classroom teaching at the middle school and community college levels.

I homeschool my children.  They aren't sheltered.  Actually, they've dealt with a lot more in life than most adults.

Nobody has said that all parents make wonderful academic teachers.  One poster said something that got misinterpreted as such, and she came back to clarify what she meant.  Parents are always the child's first teachers.  That's how it should be.  Some parents might not be able to teach math and science, or teach a 5 year old to read, but they can teach children how to love and live.
Some people lift weights.  I lift measures.  It's a far more esoteric workout. - (Quoted from a personal friend)

Rohanna

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Re: Home-schooling
« Reply #99 on: February 21, 2013, 02:34:51 AM »
Then you have the education and drive to overcome your obstacles (which many do not). You have parents to fall back on since your income disappeared (many do not). That still doesn't address people who have *no* education, *no* security net, and no knowledge of how to even start preparing a child for their future.

 I don't think I'm made a single "interesting assumption" so much as I've pointed out the many potential road-blocks that face parents when educating their children. Could someone overcome them? Sure. Can most people? I'd bet not. The worst part is, many are not even interested in doing so- if the government did not provide and mandate schooling- many of these children would simply never be given a chance. Look at any country where public education is *not* a right to see how well that plays out- and who it hits hardest (hint: it's not generally the boys or the wealthy).

How do you overcome a traumatic brain injury? How do you overcome a functional IQ of a 10-12 year old to teach your child advanced algebra at 15 or 16? How do you teach advanced subjects while also holding down one or two jobs and learning a new language yourself? It's not an "interesting assumption" to say that the many (and I'm not talking just this thread - when I say "homeschoolers" I mean the wider community) parents who insist that anyone who uses public education is not doing the best for their child are *not* thinking of the fact that for many children it is their best shot at a decent, well-rounded education due to the socio-economic, cultural and personal realities many families face.


 I am curious thought as to where you live that you receive so little to care for children to ill to attend school- that seems very wrong of your society to provide for a family in your situation so poorly and I'm sorry you've been put in that situation. Where I live there are minimum caps on social-welfare, and I believe severely disabled children can qualify for their own support payments as well. In fact, I know that school boards *have* to provide assistance in educating disabled children here- even if it means providing a home-teacher/tutor.

 You can be proud that you are able to provide for your children in spite of your hardships- but for the average child with parents less able than you, an education in "how to love and live" is probably not going to get them very far in today's world- assuming their parents are able and even interested in providing that much.
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. ~ Jack Layton.

Roe

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Re: Home-schooling
« Reply #100 on: February 21, 2013, 06:25:29 AM »
Not one single assumption?  Rohanna, you've made too many 'interesting assumptions.' 

I will, however, admit that homeschooling isn't for everyone.  Not everyone can afford it (singe family income), not everyone wants to do it (regardless of capability), etc.   There are many who face severe road blocks and depending on the severity of those issues, they either don't homeschool or work around those issues.  Every family, every case, every child is different.  I'm sure a parent with a low IQ either wouldn't homeschool or would provide tutors or outside classes for their child.  Knowing your limits is all part of homeschooling. 

I've never heard anyone say people who "use public school education [aren't] doing the best for their children."  As a matter of fact, I have a son in public school and so do many of other homeschoolers I know. (have a child or two in public school and vice versa) Anyone who makes such a statement is making "interesting assumptions." 

Just because I choose to homeschool my youngest, that's not a statement on anyone else's life decisions. Homeschooling is a very personal choice.

Mmswm: Thanks for trying to clarify a bit more on what I said.   :)

Rohanna

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Re: Home-schooling
« Reply #101 on: February 21, 2013, 08:53:40 AM »
I don't think we are using assumption to mean the same thing, and it's not an assumption to refute points actually stated in this thread- never mind outside of it. There have been several posters who have made comments stating that "parents are the best teachers or that anyone can teach" and it's simply not true. The people who are making assumptions here are the ones who think that every parent thinks and has the resources like they and their self-selected, educated, and loving group of home-schooling friends do- and while I would love to live in a world where that was true- we don't.  Having a strong (and your list of degrees is impressive) educational background makes such a monumentally huge difference to the ability to teach that it's ridiculous to compare to someone in the exact same shoes as you, but with only a grade one or two education.

For instance MommyPenguins statement of "Most teachers don't have that kind of knowledge, either.  Most of their education is in teaching itself, not in the subjects they teach..... Just about anybody has the basic knowledge needed to help their child through elementary and probably most middle school educational material, maybe looking things up here and there. Just about anybody has the basic knowledge needed to help their child through elementary and probably most middle school educational material, maybe looking things up here and there." simply isn't true. There are many areas of N America where the average parent *doesn't* have the basic knowledge to help their child - in immigrant families ".... immigrants arriving as adults with relatively little education..... There are 10.4 million students from immigrant households in public schools, accounting for one in five public school students. Of these students, 78 percent speak a language other than English at home." (http://www.cis.org/2012-profile-of-americas-foreign-born-population_) - Do these parents have the ability to teach their children at a higher level than they've attained, in a language they may still be struggling with? What about the racial inequality of education in the US, where only 65% of Hispanic young adults had completed high school  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_achievement_gap_in_the_United_States) - these young adults will face extreme barriers in teaching their own children, if they have struggled in school themselves.

Those aren't assumptions, they are numbers- numbers of people who face educational barriers. People who's parents can't just dust off their rusty knowledge of high-school geography because they don't *have* the knowledge and never did. They can't "learn along with the kids" as someone suggested, because they can't read the material, and don't know to access it in the first place. If you, your parents, and your friends, and your friends parents never learned about a subject- and are unaware of it or it's importance- are you going to know to go find it and teach it?



My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. ~ Jack Layton.

Roe

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Re: Home-schooling
« Reply #102 on: February 21, 2013, 09:17:39 AM »
Rohanna, we can sit here and talk about "what if's" or numbers all day. 

Instead, I'll just sit here, by the fireplace on a very cold Thursday morning, and enjoy the sound of my son playing his piano. 

I know I'm doing the right thing for him.  That's all that matters to me.  Numbers don't mean much when I see the creativity, confidence and knowledge he gets from homeschooling. 

This morning, he hopped in bed with me and we got a few quiet moments to discuss our day before he decided to go work on the stop-motion animation project he's creating.  He attends classes twice a week so he's looking forward to his 3D Robotics and Spanish classes tomorrow. 

So if others were to ask my advice about homeschooling, I'd have only positive things to say.  Statistics don't matter much to the individual if your experience don't mesh with the numbers.  :) 

LadyL

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Re: Home-schooling
« Reply #103 on: February 21, 2013, 09:20:04 AM »
If I may interject in the current discussion - I think part of the problem in the statement that "almost every parent can be a teacher/homeschooler if they want to" is that for anyone who might like to homeschool but can't, it puts the burden and guilt on them for not making it work. It can also ignore real barriers to homeschooling (or just higher parental involvement in general). For example, if we had kids, LordL makes enough money that I could stay home and homeschool. However, we are both very career oriented in fast paced fields where neither of us can afford to take off 6 months, never mind several years. It would be career suicide - there are many dysfunctional views and policies about parental leave in both our fields. There are other people with similar barriers - posters here have mentioned personality types that are not compatible with that of their children in a teaching environment. I'm sure factors like parents who are on disability for health issues, or single parents lacking resources, or immigrants without a strong grasp of English, can also present barriers to homeschooling.

Acting like those barriers don't exist, or should be easily overcome by almost anyone, can be seen as saying "well, it's your fault you didn't work hard enough to make it happen." It's a similar attitude to "why don't you just get a job" in this economy - it's not that simple.

Roe

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Re: Home-schooling
« Reply #104 on: February 21, 2013, 09:25:05 AM »
LadyL, I realize I didn't state my opinion in a very clear manner. That was my fault and I hope I cleared it up.  If not, well, that's fine.  I still do believe parents make the best teachers for their children, even if those children are in public school. And I'm not necessarily talking math and writing.  But I'll stop before my words get me in trouble again. :)

For the OP, Honeypickle, thank you for such an intereseting discussion!!!  Truly, I mean that.  It's been awhile since I thought about homeschooling as something different and unique.  Trying to explain my decision isn't something I come across everyday. (lucky me, I know)  It's made me even more secure in the fact that our path is the right path, at least for my youngest. 

Oh and I also wanted to pass along this video.  Maybe this will answer some of your questions.  OP, if you truly want to homeschool, give it a try!  If it doesn't work out, well, at least you'll know.  Trust me, if I could go back in time, I would definitely homeschool all my children and not just my youngest. 

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=h11u3vtcpaY